Dhanuk in India


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Dhanuks, who are settled in the Terai districts of Saptari, Siraha and Dhanusa, are either Dalits or a minority indigenous people. Dhanuks are called Rajbanshis. The Dhanuks of Eastern Terai are called Kurmi and Patel in the Western Terai.

The Dhanuks live all across India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Dhanuks are scattered from Morang in the east to the Terai in the west. But the Dhanuk are also found in Saptari, Siraha and Dhanusa in the east. Their main area of settlement stretches from Saptari to Dhanusa in the inner valley plain south of the Churia Hills. It is hard to calculate the population of minority nationality of Dhanuks in Nepal.

Their language and culture of the Dhanuks are similar to the Tharus. The Dhanuks, like Tharus, are employed by landlords and well-to-do persons to do private household work. They also look very much like Tharus. They are influenced by the Hindu religion and the Indian culture across the border. The language of the Dhanuks is Maithili and Hindi in eastern Terai.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The rites of birth, death and marriage are performed by giving due importance like other tribes. The pregnant woman is kept in a separate home to arrange assistance from a dagrin (midwife) of the Chamar community. The baby is caused to cry as soon as it is born. "Ghosts" are driven away by putting the branches of jujube and unwanted shoes placed at the main gate of the house. The baby is given the milk of a she-goat to drink. Chhaiti is done in six days and Barahi in twelve days. In Barahi, worship and festivities are arranged.

Dhanuks do not marry within the clan nor do they have the practice of cross-cousin marriage. In most of the cases, the parents seek the girl or the boy. Due to the influence of neighbors they also have the system of dowry.

When a Dhanuk dies, the corpse is cremated if the deceased is above 12 years of age and is buried if younger.

The houses of Dhanuks are plastered with mud and pictures are drawn of mud too. Women go outside for work but a male member remains the head of the family. Lots of feasts are organized on various occasions. Some Dhanuks never drink spirits and jaand but Dhanuks in general have the practice of drinking raksi or spirits.

The houses of Dhanuks are built in cluster in the river basins and edges of forests. They like to settle in river basins. A group of ten or eleven households makes a bindar committee and five bindars constitute a praganna. The chief of praganna is called maijan. There is one post, called Chaurasi, above him. These institutions manage tribal reconciliation and settlement of disputes. Those who do not abide by rules are expelled from the ethnic group. Mandal, Mahato and Kurmi are their thars (clans).

Since they dwell in the river basins and the edges of forests, they do fishing and animal husbandry. Some people of various types within the Dhanuks are even big landowners, but the Dhanuks who belong to the group of minority nationality are absolutely landless. They earn their livelihood by working as agriculture laborers and household servants.


What Are Their Beliefs?

In some places Brahmins are appointed as priests while in other places they use Dhanuk priests. Dhanuks believe in magic, witchcraft and ghosts. They are divided into two groups in terms of religion: those who worship Kali are called Kaliyaha and others are called Maharkhiya. Those who worship Kali eat pork and drink alcohol, whereas Maharkhiyas do not do so. They worship a goddess called Gahil, who is one of five sisters. Their other goddesses are Shitalmata and Goureya Gaiya. The main occupation of Dhanuks is working for big zamindars (landowners) and farming.

Today there are several churches and quite a few believers among them.


Profile Source:   Pawan Kumar Gurahiya  

Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-09-28
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-09-22
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-08-08
People Name General Dhanuk
People Name in Country Dhanuk
Population in India 4,181,000
World Population 4,396,700
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Unreached Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 83
Progress Scale 1
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Alternate Names Dhakna Rajput, Dhanak, Dhanak Julaha, Dhankia, Harijan, Jamadar, Julaha, Kabirpanthi, Kurmi, Mahatroji, Mandalji Mahatoji, Mandatji, Methur, Patel, धानुक
People ID 16696
ROP3 Code 111925
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Hindi
People Group Dhanuk
Ethnic Code CNN25c
Total Subgroups on file 17
Largest Subgroups
(only 15 largest shown)
Awadhia
2,500
Chunakala
2,500
Kaparia
2,500
Maghaiya
2,500
Mongchara
2,500
Sankata
2,500
Silhatia
2,500
Sonpari
2,500
Dadhwar
2,300
Dholbaja
0
Dhundar
0
Kanaujia
0
Katheria
0
Khakarpuja
0
Laungavasta
0
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Hindi
People Group Dhanuk
Ethnic Code CNN25c
Total Subgroups 17 (only 15 largest shown)
  Awadhia 2,500
  Chunakala 2,500
  Kaparia 2,500
  Maghaiya 2,500
  Mongchara 2,500
  Sankata 2,500
  Silhatia 2,500
  Sonpari 2,500
  Dadhwar 2,300
  Dholbaja 0
  Dhundar 0
  Kanaujia 0
  Katheria 0
  Khakarpuja 0
  Laungavasta 0
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 17
Largest States
(only 15 largest shown)
Bihar
2,482,000
Uttar Pradesh
630,000
Haryana
495,000
Rajasthan
130,000
Madhya Pradesh
101,000
Delhi
98,000
Punjab
94,000
Jharkhand
61,000
West Bengal
58,000
Odisha
26,000
Chandigarh
3,000
Chhattisgarh
1,400
Uttarakhand
800
Andaman and Nicobar
500
Tripura
400
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 17
  Bihar 2,482,000
  Uttar Pradesh 630,000
  Haryana 495,000
  Rajasthan 130,000
  Madhya Pradesh 101,000
  Delhi 98,000
  Punjab 94,000
  Jharkhand 61,000
  West Bengal 58,000
  Odisha 26,000
  Chandigarh 3,000
  Chhattisgarh 1,400
  Uttarakhand 800
  Andaman and Nicobar 500
  Tripura 400
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Hindi (2,722,000 speakers)
Language Code hin   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 30
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Bhojpuri
321,000
Maithili
291,000
Angika
169,000
Kanauji
133,000
Awadhi
99,000
Haryanvi
86,000
Magahi
68,000
Bengali
60,000
Punjabi, Eastern
55,000
Bagri
52,000
Odia
24,000
Marwari
22,000
Shekhawati
20,000
Dhundari
5,100
Bundeli
4,900
Other People Groups Speaking Hindi
Primary Language Hindi (2,722,000 speakers)
Language Code hin   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 30
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Bhojpuri 321,000
  Maithili 291,000
  Angika 169,000
  Kanauji 133,000
  Awadhi 99,000
  Haryanvi 86,000
  Magahi 68,000
  Bengali 60,000
  Punjabi, Eastern 55,000
  Bagri 52,000
  Odia 24,000
  Marwari 22,000
  Shekhawati 20,000
  Dhundari 5,100
  Bundeli 4,900
People Groups Speaking Hindi

Primary Language:  Hindi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1806-1962)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1811-1998)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1818-2000)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon National Bible Societies
Forum of Bible Agencies World Bible Finder
Gospel Go World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video A Beautiful Hope (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video A Pilgrimage (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Aasha - Hope (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Coconuts (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Creation to Christ (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Father's Love Letter
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Haqeeqat Episode 6 (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Hindi
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Rivka (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video Ten Virgins (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video The Final Prodigal (Indigitube.tv)
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.02 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
99.79 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.19 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source Pawan Kumar Gurahiya  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest India census data.  Current values may differ.


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